Karen Overstreet, Roy, Heli J., Agan, Cathy B.  |  12/18/2009 10:53:35 PM

Lab Activity

 Take two cooked chicken or turkey bones, clean and dry. Place one bone in a cup of water and the other in a cup of vinegar for two to three days. Come back after two or three days and compare the bones. What will you find? The acid in the vinegar will take calcium out of the bone, making it bend. You will easily see the difference between dense and porous bones. If your diet is calcium-deficient over a long period, bone mass progressively decreases. Consuming products made with vinegar does not have this effect on people.

In this lesson, you will learn why everyone needs dairy products or other non-dairy products with the same nutrients/minerals found in dairy in their diet, how to choose among the different types of milk and how to deal with lactose intolerance.


Dietary Calcium, Vitamin D and Potassium

Lacking calcium, vitamin D and potassium in your diet could lead to possible health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and a higher blood pressure. Therefore, the National Health Institute recommends these amounts of dairy products for each age group to eat/drink:

Daily Recommendations by Age Group


2-3 years old

2 cups

4-8 years old

2 1/2 cups


9-13 years old

3 cups

14-18 years old

3 cups


9-13 years old

3 cups

14-18 years old

3 cups


19-30 years old

3 cups

31-50 years old

3 cups

51+ years old

3 cups


19-30 years old

3 cups

31-50 years old

3 cups

51+ years old

3 cups

Every cup of milk (8 oz.) provides a good amount of calcium – approximately 300 milligrams. Milk and other dairy products are our best sources of calcium. Good non-dairy sources include sardines and other fish canned with the bones, dark green, leafy vegetables, tofu, shellfish, soy products like soymilk, and orange juice with calcium added. And don't forget foods made with dairy products like macaroni and cheese, cream soups, pudding, custards, cheese pizza and tacos, to name a few.

It is especially important to drink enough milk as a child and adolescent because that is when bones are growing and bone mass is being built. If you don’t get enough calcium when you are young, you could suffer from osteoporosis when you are older. This is a painful disease where bones become brittle and break easily.

Daily Calcium Recommendations by Age Group


Amount of Calcium (mg)/day

0-6 months old


7-12 months old


1-3 years old


4-8 years old


9-18 years old


19-50 years old

Men: 1,000

Women: 1,000

51+ years old

Men: 1,200

Women: 1,200

Pregnancy or Lactation

14-18 years old: 1,300

19-50 years old: 1,000

Vitamin D helps calcium to be better absorbed by your body. About 15 mcg of Vitamin D are recommended per day for all ages. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. More good sources are dairy products (yogurt, milk) that have been vitamin D fortified. All milk sold in Louisiana is fortified with vitamin D. Other good nondairy sources of vitamin D include fish such as soymilk, salmon, fortified orange juice and eggs.

Potassium helps calcium make our bones strong and build healthy bone mass. Dairy products provide a good source of potassium. Some other non-dairy sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables and soymilk.

Daily Potassium Recommendations by Age Group


Amount of Potassium (mg)/day

1-3 years old


4-8 years old


9-13 years old


14-18 years old


19+ years old




Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is when you cannot digest the lactose in milk and some other dairy products. Lactose, the sugar in milk, is broken down by the enzyme lactase. Some people have low levels of lactase, which means that all of the lactose is not broken down. If you have trouble drinking milk and eating some other dairy products because of bloating and gas, you probably have lactose intolerance. That means you don't have the lactase enzyme needed to digest the lactose (sugar) in some dairy products. Choose lactose-reduced milk, acidophilus milk (not available in all areas), lact-aid tablets or drops or fermented dairy products such as buttermilk or yogurt or simply try drinking smaller amounts of milk at a time. People of African or Asian descent are more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance. Also, as people get older, the amount of lactase in their digestive tracts decreases, and they may also become lactose intolerant.

Should lactose-intolerant individuals quit drinking milk? It depends. It is important to remember that there are different degrees of lactose intolerance. Most of these people can have a normal serving of milk without symptoms, especially if taken with meals.

Here are a few other tips for lactose intolerant individuals:

  • Look for lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk and cheeses.
  • Buy lactase enzyme tablets or drops from the drugstore or supermarket. There are several brand names such as Lactaid or Dairy Eaze. This enzyme digests the lactose and prevents cramping.
  • Buy acidophilus milk.
  • Try drinking only small amounts of milk with meals.
  • Use cultured dairy products such as yogurt and buttermilk.
Prepare dishes that include milk and other dairy products.

Types of Milk and Dairy Products

 There are many different types of milk. Learn to read the labels and choose the ones that best fit your needs, taste and budget. In the refrigerator case, you will find many types of fluid milk from skim milk to whole milk. All have essentially the same nutrients. All you lose going from whole milk to skim milk are the fat and calories.

Whole milk has 3.25% fat by weight. That means that 1 cup (8 ounces) has 8 grams of fat and 150 calories. Vitamin D is added to whole milk.

Reduced-fat or 2% milk has at least 25% less fat than whole milk. One cup (8 ounces) of reduced-fat or 2% milk has 5 grams of fat and 120 calories. Vitamins A and D are added to reduced-fat or 2% milk.

Low-fat milk may have 0.5% or 1% fat by weight. To be labeled low-fat milk, it cannot have more than 3 grams of fat per 8-ounce cup. Vitamins A and D are added to low-fat milk.

Skim or nonfat milk has most of the fat removed. It has less than 0.5% milk fat by weight. Vitamins A and D are added. It has all the nutrients of whole milk without the fat and calories. Most have nonfat milk solids added to improve texture. Skim or nonfat milk has 0 grams of fat in an 8-ounce cup.

Lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk is milk in which part or all of the lactose has been removed. It is great for individuals who are lactose intolerant and cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk can be skim, low-fat, 2% or whole milk. Read the label.

Nonfat dry milk is skim milk from which all of the water has been removed. Follow package directions to reconstitute it with water. Usually 1/3 cup of dry milk plus 2/3 cup of water makes 1 cup of milk. Reconstituted nonfat dry milk can be used for drinking or cooking.

Evaporated milk is canned milk in which half the water has been removed. You can buy regular evaporated milk or skimmed evaporated milk. Again, read the label. It can be reconstituted by adding an equal amount of water and used in replace of fluid milk in recipes.

Condensed milk is canned milk that has about 60% of the water removed and sugar added. Use it only in recipes calling for condensed milk.

It is important to remember that cheeses, yogurts, creams and other dairy products made with milk can be labeled the same as milk. For example, whole-milk cheese is full-fat cheese, reduced-fat yogurt is made from 2% milk and will be made with 25% less fat than whole milk, and non-fat cottage cheese will have less than .5 g milk fat.

Stretching Milk Dollars

You can stretch your milk dollars by choosing:

  • Large containers, they cost less per serving.
  • Store brands, usually less expensive.
  • Nonfat dry milk (reconstituted, it is ready for drinking). You may like the taste better if you mix half reconstituted dry milk with half fluid milk. Nonfat dry milk is also great to use in cooking.
  • Evaporated milk: It can be reconstituted by adding an equal amount of water and used in place of fluid milk in recipes. Don't confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk. Condensed milk has about 60% of the water removed and sugar added. Use it only in recipes calling for condensed milk.

Pull Date

Pull Date

Have you ever noticed the date on milk cartons? It's called a pull date. It's the last day the milk can be sold. It doesn't mean you can't drink it after that date. In fact, if you handle milk properly, it should last for several days past the pull date. You will know when milk has gone bad. It will taste sour. Even then it won't hurt you. You can use it in recipes calling for buttermilk.


Storing Dairy Products

Fresh fluid milk, dairy products, opened canned milk and reconstituted dry milk should be kept refrigerated in clean, covered containers. It's easy when you remember the three C's... Clean, Cold, and Covered. This will help it to stay fresh a long time. Store nonfat dry milk powder in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place.



  • Adults 19-50 need 3 cups of milk (or milk products) every day (based on a 2,000-calorie diet).
  • Dairy products are our best sources of dietary calcium. They are also good sources of vitamin D and potassium, which help the body to build strong bones. However, if you do not eat dairy products, good sources of calcium, vitamin D and potassium can be found in other non-dairy products such as soymilk.
  • Choose 1% or skim milk. It has all the nutrients of whole milk without the fat and calories.
  • There are special products such as lactose-reduced milk and lactaid tablets for those who are lactose intolerant.
  • Buy store brands in large containers to save money. You may also try non-fat dry milk and evaporated milk.
  • Keep milk clean, cold and covered.

Web Resources


  1. http://www.whymilk.com/ – a fun site with a lot of information and games
  2. Southeastern Dairy Association


Dairy products are main sources of nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D (for products fortified with vitamin D) and potassium in the diet. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and calcium-fortified soymilk, are the main sources of calcium in the American diet. Calcium is used for building healthy teeth and bones. Dairy products, especially yogurt, milk and soymilk, provide potassium. Potassium-rich diets are thought to help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Vitamin D helps to keep healthy levels of calcium and potassium in the body, which helps to promote healthy bone growth. Milk and soymilk that have been fortified with vitamin D are good sources of this nutrient. Other good sources include vitamin D-fortified yogurt and vitamin D-fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. There is moderate evidence suggesting that drinking milk is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes. Consuming dairy products has also been associated with an overall lower blood pressure.


  1. got milk? – a fun site with a lot of information and recipes
  2. Southeastern Dairy Association - Learn more about the health benefits of milk and more.

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